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Do Cats Have Eyelashes?

Cats have a lot of beautiful features, with their eyes being one of the most fascinating. When looking at your pet’s eyes, you may find yourself wondering “do cats have eyelashes?

There has been a lot of debate throughout history on whether or not cats have eyelashes. While you may not be able to see them, most cat breeds do have eyelashes. The reason you can’t see them is that cat eyelashes are very small and the same color as their fur. 

A coat of mascara won’t make your cat’s eyelashes more visible. Cat eyelashes are different than human eyelashes but have the same function. On this page, we’re going to discuss what cat eyelashes are like and everything a pet owner should know about them.

Do Cats Have Eyelashes
Do Cats Have Eyelashes

Do Cats Have Eyelashes?

If you’re a cat owner that just typed in “Do cats have eyelashes?” into a search engine, you may be more confused than before you started the search. Some websites suggest that cats don’t have eyelashes and have absolutely no need for them. Other sites go into more detail about what cat eyelashes are like. 

We got down to the bottom of this debate to give you the real answer to the question on your mind. Do cats have eyelashes? Cats do have eyelashes, they just look a lot different than what you’re used to an eyelash looking like. 

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On humans, eyelashes are long. The hair is usually thicker and darker than the hair on their head. When we observe different animals, we notice that some of them have long eyelashes similar to humans. If you look at a horse or a cow’s face, it’s very obvious that the animal has eyelashes.

Yet, when you at a cat’s eyes, it’s easy to think they don’t have eyelashes. This is because cats’ eyelashes tend to blend in with their fur. While the eyelashes of your furry friend may look different than yours, they still serve an important purpose.

What You Should Know About Cat Eyelashes

Eyelashes are also known as cilia. These are hairs that grow on the edge of your upper and lower eyelid. That being said, the technical definition of an eyelash doesn’t state that it has to be long, thick, and black. Any hair that grows from the edge of an eyelid is considered an eyelash.

Now, before we put it into cement that cats have eyelashes, we need to clear one thing up first. Whether or not a cat has eyelashes will depend on the breed. Some cats, like Ragdolls and Maine Coones, may have more prominent eyelashes that are noticeable to the owners. Yet, Devon Rex and Cornish Rex cats don’t have eyelashes.

Before we delve further into the topic of cats and their eyelashes, we should talk about the Sphynx cat. You may be familiar with this breed as the hairless cat. Technically, this cat isn’t bald. Sphynx cats do have peach-fuzz on their bodies. Every Sphynx cat is different, but some even have eyelashes and whiskers. 

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Why Do Cats Have Eyelashes?

Many humans are under the impression that their eyelashes are to bring out the beauty of their eyes. One coat of good mascara or a set of quality fake lases can take your eyes to the next level. What you may not have known is that your eyelashes are actually meant to protect your eyes.

Eyelashes on a human prevent dirt and debris from getting into the eye. They also sense when a human needs to blink or shut their eyes. 

Cats need eyelashes for the same purpose as humans. However, the cat actually has more forms of protection for its eyes, which is why the eyelashes are typically short. On top of the eyelashes, cats also have their fur coat, whiskers, and third eyelid to protect their eyes.

How a Cat’s Fur Coat Keeps its Eyes Protected

Eyelashes don’t need to be long in order to keep a cat’s eyes protected. Their fur coat does work as a 360-degree form of protection for the cat. If there is debris coming its way, the fur coat will likely stop it before it gets near the eye area. There is fur all over your cat’s face to act in defense of dirt, dust, and debris. 

How a Cat’s Whiskers Keep its Eyes Protected

The point of a cat’s whiskers is to alert them when something is near them. If the cat is getting too close to an object, the Whiskers will let it know so it doesn’t bump into it. You may notice a set of whiskers above the cat’s eyes. These whiskers can do the same job as eyelashes, but with more distance.

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What is a Cat’s Third Eyelid?

Have you ever woken your cat up from a nap and noticed a thin white layer on its eye before it opens them? This is the third eyelid, also known as the nictitating membrane. Unlike the top and bottom lid that shuts vertically, the third eyelid is in the corner of the eye and shuts horizontally. 

The third eyelid on a cat helps to keep their eyes protected from anything their fur or whiskers may have missed. This eyelid is translucent, so cats can still see when it’s shut. Often, when a cat is walking through a bushy area, it will use the third eyelid for extra protection.

While the third eyelid is great for keeping a cat’s eye’s protected, it also keeps them healthy. This eyelid also eyes the cat’s eyes stay lubricated. 

Do Eyelashes Bother the Cat?

Most cats don’t have a problem with their eyelashes. However, there are some cases in which a medical condition can lead to eyelashes touching the cat’s eyes. This can be very uncomfortable for your furry friend, so it’s best to contact your vet for treatment if you notice any signs of an eyelash-related medical problem.

 As a cat owner, you will be able to notice signs that your cat is experiencing discomfort or pain in the eyelash area. Some signs include:

  • Pink or reddish color in the eye
  • Excessive blinking
  • Swollen eye area
  • Discharge
  • Watery eyes
  • Pawing at the eye area frequently

There are a few medical conditions that can cause these symptoms. Treatment from the vet will depend on which condition the cat has. Luckily, they are not painful. However, if you don’t get them treated early on, it could go from mild discomfort to pain for the cat.

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Distichiasis Condition

If your cat has distichiasis, its eyelashes are causing discomfort because the eyelashes are too close to its eyes. This condition causes the cat to have full or partial double rows of eyelashes.

Ectopic Cilia

If your cat has ectopic cilia, the eyelashes will be growing in a direction towards the eye. Cats with this condition often experience irritations because the eyelashes are growing from inside the eyelid.

Trichiasis Condition

Trichiasis can be very uncomfortable for a cat. This condition causes its eyelashes to grow sporadically. If you were to take an up-close look at how the eyelashes were growing, you would see them coming out at different angles and pointing in different directions. Many cats with this condition experience discomfort because the eyelashes are brushing up against the eye.

How Come I Can’t See My Cats Eyelashes?

At first glance, you may think you notice eyelashes or an eyebrow, but that’s just the cat’s eye whiskers. When you look up close, it may seem like your cat’s eyelashes are impossible to find. Even if your cat is calm enough to let you get a very close look, you still may not notice a single lash.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any eyelashes there. There is a very obvious reason that you can’t spot the cat’s eyelashes. Your cat has fur all over its face, up to the very edge of its eyelids. Unless you have the background experience and a lot of knowledge about cat eyelashes, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to tell the difference between its lashes and fur. 

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Part of the reason people are firm in their debate about cats not having eyelashes is simply that they can’t see them. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t really there.

Final Thoughts

Do cats have eyelashes? Believe it or not, cats really do have eyelashes. Eyelashes are meant to protect the eye from dirt and debris, while also triggering the eye to close when needed. Since cats have more protection throughout their bodies to protect their eyes, they don’t need eyelashes that are as long and thick as some other mammals do.

If you can’t find your cat’s eyelashes, you’re not alone. A cat’s eyelashes are the same color, thickness, and length as its fur. The only real difference between a cat’s eyelashes and its fur is what area of the body it grows on. If you notice that your cat constantly has eye irritations by can’t determine why, it could be due to a medical condition with its eyelashes.